How do you get bed bugs?

Thumbtack Editors
Answered

Bed bugs can happen to anybody and there typically more than 200,000 cases in the U.S. per year. They are sneaky little pests that hitchhike into your home in a variety of ways. Getting a bed bug infestation is not a reflection on how clean a home is; bed bugs can infiltrate the cleanest of places — although their presence is easier to detect and eliminate in clutter-free spaces. Here are some tips from the EPA to prevent bed bugs from entering and taking up residence in your home:

  • Carefully inspect secondhand furniture, beds, or couches for any signs of bed bug infestation before bringing them home.
  • Use a protective cover (encasement) over mattresses and box springs to prevent bed bugs from hiding in them. Select an encasement in a light color to make bed bug spotting easier. Also choose one of a strong material that won’t tear, and check it often for holes.
  • Keep your home clutter-free to eliminate bed bug hiding spots.
  • Vacuum your home regularly and dispose of sealed vacuum bags carefully.
  • Shared laundry facilities can lead to bed bug exposure in both directions. Transport laundry in plastic bags (if you have an active infestation, use a new bag for the journey home). Remove laundry from the dryer directly into the bag and fold it at home. Use high heat to kill any potential bed bugs.
  • The EPA suggests that if you live in a multi-family home, isolate your unit by:
    • Installing door sweeps on the bottom of doors to discourage movement into hallways.
    • Sealing cracks and crevices around baseboards, light sockets, etc., to discourage movement through wall voids.